Dar Es Suriani

by Peter Riley

Peter Riley

Dug into the edge of nations
inhabiting the frictions of light
keeping the sentences locked

Until they're needed,
keeping silence, Lebanese
wine in the cellars

Reserved for visitors
hiss of dust against white walls

the messages cased and locked

And passed from life to life in
silence, the syntax unbroken, the fruit
held from its fearful result.

Patience and fortune at rest
on a thread, a spring in the desert.
We repeat the text again and again

At first light and evening
because it is true because
it cannot be moved or pictured.

A stone breaks in the west, a bud
of dust on the horizon meaning
trouble as the sky crashes

Daily to our feet. Our transmission
is fixed and immediate, solitude and obscurity
make our beds. A stone breaks

In the east, wild truckers
scorch the horizon spreading
immense suffering and loss, the dust

Of their passage glitters on the floor.
We scoop it up and blend it with
goat fat to make a binding paste

For the books in the library
that we can't read. We bury
the dead, they haven't got time.

What else can we do? What is
left of us after they have all gone
is a body faithful from its centre

Further than it can see
as we toil at common tasks
absorbed in our procedures

Hardly aware of the uncertainty
and ecstasy hoarded under the line
the fuel in the cellar that

Fires our fate, to maintain
beneficence without object and virtue
without enemy and cry in the desert

For he is mine and I am
his again and again in
love and war. At night

The stars screen our orders
and the small fire in the clay room
burns prepositions. Edge-life

Squats, guardian tomb, all days
positioned and engaged, ensuring
that the only possible result

Be the exactly possible outcome
as the flesh line is held straight
and true here by the equinox, and whatever

Speed kills cells or wastes
earth with excitement anywhere, here
it is altered, it is given

Back before it can be loaded.
Heart levels cross at night
in the stone shed alone with love's answer,

True loves at war,
mine and yours. For we meet, serve,
and retire for good, as you know.

Last updated July 20, 2021